Sunday, March 30, 2008

Colchester Theatre Group
Headgate Theatre
29 March 2008

They were never meant to take to the stage. They were certainly never meant to be seen back-to-back on the same day.
So full marks to CTG for their superb Talking Heads - the entire first series on a single Saturday.

James Potter was the token man - though his monologue is as much about his mother - slightly too young, slightly too hasty, and prone to nudging and winking, but nevertheless a funny, touching performance as a mother's boy haunted by mental illness.
Teresa Sales was affecting as Doris, with a cream cracker under her settee. The nuances were sometimes lost, and Tong Road was a distant memory, but an honest, down-to-earth performance, bringing out the frailty and the feistiness of this old lady.
Lesley, the jobbing actress, was given a bubbly, nervy edge by Louisa McDonald. Vicar's wife Susan was excellently played by Maggie Bush in Bed Among the Lentils: character and delivery just right, though occasionally she struggled with the words, and the set was over-fussy, I felt.
Sara Green was Miss Ruddock in Lady of Letters - a tour-de-force, managing to be moving and amusing, often in the same breath. Can't imagine this piece being better done; the same goes for my favourite Talking Head, Soldiering On, brilliantly performed at the Headgate by Giovanna Austin, tragic as the upper-middle-class wife whose life unravels after her husband dies - the heart-breaking sadness was all the more touching for being concealed behind a twinset and pearls and a resolutely brave face.

Colchester Theatre Group have a reputation for Alan Bennett plays - their Lady in the Van was wonderful - and I look forward to the second set of Talking Heads ...

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